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Philosophy Religion and the Specter of the West

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by Aman Singh, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh
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    Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Post-colonialism, and the Politics of Translation (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture) By Arvind Mandair

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    Product Description

    Arguing that intellectual movements, such as deconstruction, postsecular theory, and political theology, have different implications for cultures and societies that live with the debilitating effects of past imperialisms, Arvind Mandair unsettles the politics of knowledge construction in which the category of "religion" continues to be central. Through a case study of Sikhism, he launches an extended critique of religion as a cultural universal. At the same time, he presents a portrait of how certain aspects of Sikh tradition were reinvented as "religion" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
    India's imperial elite subtly recast Sikh tradition as a sui generis religion, which robbed its teachings of their political force. In turn, Sikhs began to define themselves as a "nation" and a "world religion" that was separate from, but parallel to, the rise of the Indian state and global Hinduism. Rather than investigate these processes in isolation from Europe, Mandair shifts the focus closer to the political history of ideas, thereby recovering part of Europe's repressed colonial memory.
    Mandair rethinks the intersection of religion and the secular in discourses such as history of religions, postcolonial theory, and recent continental philosophy. Though seemingly unconnected, these discourses are shown to be linked to a philosophy of "generalized translation" that emerged as a key conceptual matrix in the colonial encounter between India and the West. In this riveting study, Mandair demonstrates how this philosophy of translation continues to influence the repetitions of religion and identity politics in the lives of South Asians, and the way the academy, state, and media have analyzed such phenomena.

    Product Details


    • Amazon Sales Rank: #342636 in Books
    • Published on: 2009-10-02
    • Released on: 2009-10-02
    • Original language: English
    • Number of items: 1
    • Binding: Hardcover
    • 536 pages

    Editorial Reviews

    Review

    "In Religion and the Specter of the West, Arvind Mandair discusses the central theme of 'religion' through the study of the specific tradition of Sikhism, raising a series of unsettling questions that touch upon a variety of different fields of inquiry. There is no doubt that this publication will be considered a substantial and most significant contribution not only to the field of Sikh studies but also to the more general area of the study of religions." -- Cosimo Zene, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London


    About the Author

    Arvind-Pal S. Mandair teaches at the University of Michigan. He is a founding coeditor of the journal Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, and Theory.

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